Bit.Trip Presents… Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien is arguably one of the best games to hit Mac this year, so the debut of a gorgeous iOS version is more than welcomed. And for the most part, Bit.Trip Run! manages to carry over the intense platforming action while attempting to keep things working on a touch screen. But amid all of that fantastic gameplay, you'll sadly find a game that isn't quite ready for prime time, and desperately needs an update to smooth over some notable issues.
Cosmetically, GarageBand 2.0 doesn’t look very different than the previous version, though there are some slight visual tweaks to bring the overall aesthetic in line with the rest of the flattened-down look of iOS 7. Perhaps the single most important functional change is that you can now create compositions with up to 16 tracks on all supported devices running with pre-A7 processors – double the amount allowed before – and up to 32 tracks on the newest A7-equipped iPhones and iPads.
BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) got off to a rocky start on iPhone and Android when it was surprisingly launched (and then pulled) in September, but the free app is finally here for real and ready to connect the world’s most popular mobile operating systems with the remaining 60 million active users of BlackBerry smartphones. It’s a mostly capable messaging app, but it’s so tardy to the cross-platform messaging party that it faces an uphill battle due to strong competition.
This was the week we got the iPad Air, so if you’re not at the store picking that up, then we bet you’re swinging by on the way home. And in case you’re not, we have peeks inside, plus a few futures that are interesting and some scary and some annoyances get quashed. So all in all, a full week’s worth in this digest dose of the biggest, best stories of the week.
Our monthly recap looks back at the games we reviewed during October, with a total of 30 iOS and Mac games presented here in bite-sized, to-the-point encapsulations. And if you want to read more, simply click the link on each slide to read the full, scored critique and find the link to purchase each game. Whereas the previous month was headlined by big AAA affairs, many of October’s best iOS games were dazzling indies, like Duet, Device 6, and Type:Rider, while we reviewed an array of excellent Mac games this month, including Fez, Mark of the Ninja, and PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate.
Each week, we highlight a selection of the most interesting, exciting, and unique new iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch titles released on the App Store. We’ve got a good mix of new options this week, from the promising Bit.Trip Run! and Anomaly 2 — both of which found success on other platforms before launching on iOS — to high-profile free-to-play offerings like Thor: The Dark World, Backyard Monsters: Unleashed, and Stack Rabbit. And if you’re seeking some Halloween-themed thrills, audio-centric horror adventure Papa Sangre II is well-timed to provide some sound-based scares.
Depending on your perspective, free-to-play games might either be the best or worst thing to happen to the mobile platform – but whatever your take, it's hard to deny that the approach comes with notable compromises. Dead Trigger 2 is a fairly engrossing first-person shooter with a lot to offer in regards to comfortable controls and enjoyable blood-spattered gameplay, but you'll quickly find yourself sitting around doing nothing in order to avoid throwing money into the works.
Backyard Monsters: Unleashed expertly adapts Kixeye’s popular Facebook game for iOS, putting you in charge of a horde of deadly fiends as they build a mighty fortress and wage war on neighboring clans. The beasts are on the scary side of cute, morphing sweet and colorful character designs into something out of a nightmare — which rather adheres to their particular brand of destruction.
Confused demonyms notwithstanding, Romans from Mars is a fairly straightforward iOS offering from Sidekick Games: waves of green-skinned centurions are attacking your ramparts and you, a lone ballista operator, are tasked with holding them off. The Roman deity Jupiter supplies intermittent spells — an earthquake here, a lightning bolt there — but the bulk of Romans from Mars consists of launching huge arrows as quickly and accurately as possible against increasingly complex hordes of aliens. Unfortunately, it devolves into mindless tapping, while the free-to-play approach makes upgrades prohibitively expensive before long.
With a laser pistol in one hand and a glowing sword in the other, charging through long corridors filled with killer robots, oozing slime creatures, and alien freaks sounds like a good time. It is — at least to an extent — in Echo Prime. This sci-fi brawler from Robot Entertainment (Hero Academy) is a high-energy tap-fest that balances smart controls and formidable challenge. The satisfaction that comes from cleaving through droves of foes in a successful run dampens during longer play sessions, however, due to intense repetition that'll leave your wrists aching.